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Ruthless Ex-wrestling Coach Mocks George Floyd's Death, And He's Not The Only One

In appalling displays of white cruelty, a former Washington wrestling coach and at least two incoming Missouri students have all taken to mocking the violent detainment of an unarmed Black man that has inspired protests across the country.
Ruthless Ex-wrestling Coach Mocks George Floyd's Death, And He's Not The Only One
Dave Hollenbeck was recently fired by the Bethel School District for photos he shared on Facebook mocking George Floyd. Image from: Screengrab/YouTube/KING 5

In appalling displays of white cruelty, a former Washington wrestling coach and at least two incoming Missouri students have all taken to mocking the violent detainment of an unarmed Black man that has inspired protests across the country. George Floyd died last Monday after a Minneapolis cop kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes despite Floyd’s protests that he couldn’t breathe.

The details preceding his death prompted thousands to take to the streets in protest, but for some teens and Dave Hollenbeck, who was recently fired by the Bethel School District, Floyd’s death was apparently a laughing matter. Since-deleted photos Hollenbeck posted on Facebook depicted someone kneeling on his neck while the coach smiled, and two Missouri students similarly posed in Snapchat video.

“Not dead yet,” Hollenbeck captioned his post. “I’m doing this for Are [sic] police officers the media is a race baiting machine and I’m tired of it I’m going to speak out every time if you don’t like that I’m sorry but I love All people.. Wake up America."

He later told local news station KIRO-TV he “did not tell any lies” and that he “did not say anything racist,” only “maybe insensitive at the time […] I showed that I was OK from a knee on my neck. That is it,” Hollenbeck told the news station. The school district told KIRO that Hollenbeck was fired Thursday.

”We have completed our investigation. Dave Hollenbeck is no longer employed by the Bethel School District,” district spokesman Doug Boyles said. “His behavior was not consistent with our equity initiatives and nondiscrimination policies.”

For the Missouri students, repercussions for their actions haven’t been as swift. The video, which only depicts two students but is said to involve a third, was reposted to Twitter and viewed more than 690,000 times. In it, one of the students can be seen laughing and yelling, "I can't breathe."

Although universities haven’t confirmed the students’ identities, they have been identified on Twitter as Piper Zenter, Anneliese Aherns, and Holland Easterla. The University of Missouri, Northwest Missouri State University, and Missouri State University, each of their prospective schools, responded on Twitter Friday.

“We are aware of the video. The university does not condone treating the loss of human life with disrespect. We are handling this privately through disciplinary channels,” Missouri State University said in its tweet. The University of Missouri thanked the person who posted the video in its tweet. “We are aware of the video and have submitted the details to the appropriate offices,” the school said. Northwest Missouri State University tweeted: ”As Bearcats, we value civility and will look into this.”

The Twitter user who posted the video, @McafeeJerica, said she has gotten calls from police “because the girls are getting harassed and apparently that’s my fault! just shows another flaw in the system🤷🏽‍♀️”

Kayla Cobb, another incoming University of Missouri student, said in a tweet that “stuff like this makes me wonder how hard i’m gonna have to fight to prove that i’m a damn human at mizzou...”

Dennis Carpenter, a former Missouri high school superintendent, said in a tweet that two of the students attended Lee’s Summit High School and he is “extremely disappointed” in them. “Maybe community support for racial equity training wouldn’t have been such a bad thing after all,” he added.

The Missouri student accepted to the University of Missouri has rescinded her enrollment, the university announced in an online statement Monday.

“Upon learning about the video, we began an immediate investigation into the matter through our Office for Civil Rights & Title IX,” the university said in the statement. “The student was informed that she would be suspended during the investigation.

“We have received numerous emails and social media posts from members of our community and the public who felt hurt and dehumanized by the video. The student made the decision today to rescind enrollment at Mizzou and will no longer be attending.”

Posted with permission from Daily Kos.

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